February, 2009


February 9th, 2009

As we’ve mentioned before, we love seeing fresh new ideas in design, which is why the DESIGNGENNEXT zone–where a sampling of industrial designs from six of Canada’s design schools–was one of our favourites to cover. Sheridan College and the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) were the two schools that stood out the most because they’re work consisted of individual ideas that didn’t look like school projects.



I had the pleasure of meeting Katrina Tompkins (pictured with her piece Burnt Cabin LP Container) near the end of the day on Sunday, and she had no less enthusiasm to discuss her work and design than if it had been day one of the show.


Katrina Tompkins, Burnt Cabin LP Container,
Salvaged Red Oak & Cast Aluminum

The designer made the legs out of cast aluminum beer bottles, and the crate-like LP holder out of reclaimed oak, by which she used a process of burning, then sandblasting, then burning, to give it a charred black look. Using reclaimed and local materials is important, as is Katrina’s interest in creating multi-functional objects.


I was also fortunate to talk with Evan Lackey (pictured with his piece Colour Panels) about his piece and design in Toronto. These weekend conferences can seem almost impersonal after awhile so it’s refreshing when we get to meet the designers, putting a face to the work and creating a more personal connection. Evan and Katrina are both in their final year at Sheridan and they look forward to sharing a studio together, as well as a flow of ideas, beyond the confines of school.


Evan Lackey, Colour Panels, Ash

Evan said this piece is intended as wall art, though you could use them as shelving for small objects as well. We love the natural grain of the wood contrasted against the surprise bits of neon bright colours.


Kym Monaghan-Morton, Loretta,
Silkscreened Fibre-Reactive Dyes on Cotton Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Toronto | 1 comment

IDS: Studio North

February 8th, 2009

Surrounding the Prototype area at the Interior Design Show is Studio North, featuring a varied selection of Canadian design and art. Four booths really stood out to us:


fishbol‘s bungee seat, made of bamboo ply and bungee cords. First off, their booth was professional and eye-catching, we couldn’t help but stop and look. John gave the seat a try, pronouncing it to be remarkably comfortable while I winced at the idea of one of the bungees coming loose and flinging him in the face (this has happened to me on numerous occasions). But of course, fishbol have probably thought about that issue so there was nothing really to worry about–the chair is well-crafted and would definitely be a conversation piece in any space.

Designer/architect duo Elie Nehme and Mani Mani are both graduates of the Carleton School of Architecture and University of Toronto’s faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Design. One look at their website and it’s evident that they are prolific in the breadth and have established a strong conceptual practice.


We spoke with fishbol’s Elie Nehme, who told us that the chair is in production and that they are looking at about an $800 retail price tag. This is not an uncommon price for an original piece that figures as both utilitarian and art object. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Toronto | 2 comments

IDS: Prototype

February 7th, 2009

The IDS: Prototype series is a juried show, selected based on a criteria that includes function, aesthetics, design innovation and market potential. Featuring both emerging and established talent these objects are not yet in production but seeking manufacturers. This was probably our favorite part of the show, we love seeing new and enthusiastic artists at these shows. This year did not disappoint, there was a full crop of great designs and amazing potential. We have our eye on a few of these designers and can’t wait to map out their progress.

Here’s a brief tour of the event:


Designer Stephen Lindsay’s Dune tiles really caught our eyes, the Scottish designer returning back to Canada (hopefully for good) created these tiles in walnut and concrete. You may have heard about his “Schtik” hanger and coffee table.


Anna Buechin’s Felted Stool is even more impressive in person. The bright coloured cushions are molded into it’s shape using heat and steam against felt over a wooden mold.

Zoe Mowat

Zoe Mowat, seen here featuring a brand new lamp prototype that we didn’t get the chance to cover in our article about her last week.


We were thrilled to run into Winnipeg’s own Keep it Cartesian’s Thom & Nils. KIC’s elegant white letter holder, Light Switch, & Hanger Clutch are a must have for the modern home, and we can’t wait till they’re in production. For more information and pictures of Keep it Cartesian’s work check out the article we wrote here.

Jang Won Yoon
Jang Won Yoon’s Janus chair/stool.


Jang Won Yoon’s Janus chair was one of our favorite designs, it’s one of those “I wish I thought of that” designs. Intended to be used outdoors, the top half of the chair folds down covering the bottom seat keeping it clean for it’s next use. Even though this chair was designed for the outdoors, we could easily see it in an upscale loft against a white interior.


Jang Won Yoon’s Blade is an elegant take on the bar stool.


Cista is a unique rain water harvesting concept. You set it up outside so that the water from your eaves trough flows into it. There is a tap at the bottom so that you can hook up a hose and water your yard. More modern than the typical rain barrel, the stainless steel design and plants make it a garden statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Toronto | no comments


February 6th, 2009

The last time I went to the Interior Design Show (IDS), I was in my late teens and with my father. We showed up on industry day and seeing as we weren’t industry, my father grabbed a couple of student badges from an unattended table and we waltzed right in (well, he waltzed, I winced). So I had an idea as to what IDS was all about, and pleased that I was able to enter unencumbered.

Last night was the opening party, aMUSE, and the general vibe was relaxed and as energetic as a massive convention centre space can muster. At first we assumed we’d last only about 2 hours, so we were surprised to find that we were among the last people standing at 11pm, especially considering we survived off of cotton candy, a mini-cupcake (yum!), a cappuccino, one oyster (Juli) and somehow, 5 dairy-free chocolate chips (surprisingly good!). Of course, there was extensive catering by Scavolini that included made-to-order pasta and crêpes, but we were on a mission to report back to you all that was new and interesting in design, so we didn’t have time for waiting in lines.


Stars, oh my!


One of several DJ/hang out areas

For the most part, IDS consists of commercial businesses that specialize in all those slightly boring necessities that you buy when renovating or building a house–windows, kitchens, flooring, fireplaces, flooring, espresso machines, etc. Of course, we don’t have much to say on that kind of stuff at this time, as we are far more interested in young industrial designers–which we didn’t even come across until the second half of our wandering through the hall (watch for John’s post tomorrow). Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Toronto | 3 comments

Radiant Dark 09

February 5th, 2009


Last night we ambled out of our comfortable winter coccoon to check out MADE‘s Radiant Dark 09: Elegant Corruptions exhibition. It was the opening night party and there was good reason we had to rsvp to attend because it was a full house. Displayed in the format of a curated exhibition, 39 new works by independent Canadian designers showcased new concepts, material use and skill.

This modern Canadian design exhibition featuring the work of 33 design studios runs all weekend (February 5-8):
Thursday to Saturday from 11am to 7pm
Sunday from 11am to 6 pm

360 Dufferin St, rear of the courtyard, unit 201 (just south of Queen St W)


One of our favourite pieces was Snowcover by Angela Iarocci, a hand-knitted blanket constructed using snow depth data from Environment Canada (1977-2007) for 13 major cities across Canada. The designer converted this data into binary code to construct subtle shifts in the hills and valleys in the pattern. She then put together the strips from West to East, to make a snow map of the great expanse of the country. We love this piece because of it’s thoughtful process and subtlety.

radiantdark-22 radiantdark-21

Giant Heaps brings us this tapestry, a tribute to the kitschy yet iconic image of a stag in it’s natural setting. A very large and striking piece, the strong stag is contrasted against the delicate construction of the tapestry, a nod towards the laborious needlework intended to bring artistic taste to the home.


Old School 2X4 Table
made by Lubo Brezina, created from discarded 2X4s from home renovation sites. We can see this beautiful table being sold right back to the original home renovators that didn’t regard the material as anything more than garbage.


Dram (Chandelier)
From Vancouver’s Propellor Design, Dram is comprised of 120 vintage tumbler glasses varying in shape and colour. We’ll drink to that!


Gold Desk
by Mazzie Design & Sandy Plotnikoff, this table is the height of glamour combining gold and walnut.


Grey Shadows (pendant light)
from Cali Balles & Don Maclennan, this pendant lamp is mouth blown glass with the initial shape of a perfect oval. Their corrupting form is due to a process of prolonged heating where the once perfect glass oval shape begins to collapse upon itself. The glass then has the air drawn out from it creating folds and wrinkles and what remains is a ghostly shape, which makes for a striking pendant light. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Toronto | 4 comments

An interlude of cuteness.

February 4th, 2009


I couldn’t resist sharing this pic of our cat Isha. It was one of those moments where the sun was just right and the cat actually stood still for an inpromptu photo shoot (no time for primping!). Also starring some sheepskins that are beginning to become raggedy (any tips on preserving them, or is this just the way it is?), a mashed up IKEA Stockholm pillow and the Børge Mogensen sofa. Oh the drama!

Filed under: General | 2 comments